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November 19, 2013

Edith Stein, a Jewish convert to Catholicism, who was gassed at Auschwitz

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 1:36 pm

The subject of saints, who were killed at the Auschwitz death camp, came up recently in the comments on my blog.  There were two Holocaust victims, who were canonized as saints in the Catholic church, after being murdered at Auschwitz.  One was Father Maximilian Kolbe, who was allegedly put to death, after surviving for a couple of weeks in a starvation cell in Block 11 in the main Auschwitz camp. He was a martyr because he had allegedly volunteered to die in place of another prisoner.

The other Auschwitz martyr, who was canonized a saint in 1998, is Edith Stein, who was gassed on the day that she arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau in the summer of 1942.  Before you start blaming this on Dr. Josef Mengele, the man who famously did selections for the gas chamber, he did not arrive at Auschwitz until May 1943.

There were two serious typhus epidemics at Auschwitz: one in the summer of 1942 and another in the summer of 1943, around the time that Dr. Mengele arrived.

In spite of the fact that Edith Stein was a Catholic and was living in the Netherlands, she was arrested in 1942 because she had been born a Jew; she was sent to the Westerbork transit camp, the same place from which Anne Frank was sent to Auschwitz.  From Westerbrook, she was sent, on August 7, 1942, on a train to Auschwitz.

Edith Stein was 51 years old at that time, and she was a Carmelite nun in the Catholic Church.  She had a PhD in philosophy and was experienced as a teacher in a University. However, there wasn’t much demand for her skills at Auschwitz, except for her experience as a nursing assistant.

If Dr. Mengele had been at the Judenrampe when she arrived at Auschwitz in the summer of 1942, he would have waved her to the right, so that she could help with the victims of the typhus epidemic.  In his absence, she was sent immediately to the gas chamber in “the little white house.”

You can see a photo, which shows the location of “the little white house” on the website of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum at

The photo on the Museum website shows that the reconstructed ruins of “the little white house” are right behind the building called “The Central Sauna,”  which was built to house a shower room and disinfection chambers for the clothes at Auschwitz.  This suggests that “the little white house” could have been a temporary location of a shower room and disinfection chambers for clothes, while the huge Sauna building was under construction.

The location of “the little white house” was at the end of the road, which ran from the Judenrampe, where Jews arrived on the trains, to the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp.  The official story of the Holocaust is that the Jews were brought immediately in trucks to the gas chamber.  The German word for a disinfection chamber is Gaskammer; the little white house had a Gaskammer, and possibly a shower room.

Reconstructed ruins of "the little white house where Edith Stein allegedly was gassed

Reconstructed ruins of “the little white house” where Edith Stein allegedly was gassed

Fortunately, Edith Stein had an easy death in the gas chamber, on August 9, 1942, in “the little white house,” instead of contracting typhus and suffering for weeks in an Auschwitz barrack before dying of typhus.

In 1998, the year that Edith Stein was selected as a candidate for sainthood, the location of “the little white house” was unknown.  I went on a visit to the Auschwitz Memorial Site in 1998, and specifically asked my tour guide to show me “the little white house.”  I was very disappointed to learn that the location of the house was unknown.

When I returned to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 2005, the location of the house had been found and there had been a reconstruction of the alleged remains of the house.

The location of "the little white house" has been reconstructed

The location of “the little white house” has been reconstructed

Before the construction of the four large gas chambers at Birkenau (Krema II, Krema III, Krema IV and Krema V) was finished in 1943, the gassing of the Jews took place in two old farmhouses, which are now called “the little white house” and “the little red house.”

The little red house was located north of where the fourth gas chamber, called Krema V, was built. It was completely destroyed by the Nazis and nothing remains of it. The little red house was the site of the first gassing of the Jews at Birkenau, beginning in March 1942, around the time that the first typhus epidemic started. The little white house was put into operation as a gas chamber in June 1942.

The little white house was located just west of the Central Sauna, which was built in 1943 to house a shower room and numerous disinfection chambers used to kill lice in the clothing of the prisoners.

What did “the little white house” look like before it was torn down?

As far as I know, there is no photo of it, but it might have looked something like the little white house below.  This little house is located on the road to Auschwitz.

A little white house, near the Auschwitz camp in Poland

A little white house, near the Auschwitz camp in Poland

Note that the little white house, shown in the photo above, has what appears to be a brick foundation, and it is very small, just like “the little white house” where Jews were killed during a typhus epidemic in 1942.

What?  You don’t believe that converted Jews were killed in “the little white house” during a typhus epidemic? Oh, ye of little faith.


  1. There no homicidal gas chambers anywhere in any of the camps white green purple or yellow.

    Comment by jrizoli — January 26, 2016 @ 3:28 pm

  2. The below passage doesn’t work in the article. It makes it sound like gassing really took place but was humane as an alternative to the painful death of contracting typhus. But in reality these little houses for gassing were a myth.

    “Fortunately, Edith Stein had an easy death in the gas chamber, on August 9, 1942, in “the little white house,” instead of contracting typhus and suffering for weeks in an Auschwitz barrack before dying of typhus.”

    Comment by Bud — November 20, 2013 @ 12:53 pm



      Comment by peter — November 20, 2013 @ 3:57 pm

    • The veteran Der Spiegel editor Fritjof Meyer even moved the alleged Auschwitz gassings from the Kremas to “the little houses” (bunkers). He wrote: “The actual genocide that was carried out probably took place mostly in the two reconstructed farm houses outside of the camp; the foundations of the first, the ‘White House’ or ‘Bunker I,’ were recently discovered.” (“The Number of Auschwitz Victims”, journal Osteuropa, May 2002)

      “The ‘Discovery’ of ‘Bunker 1’ at Birkenau: Swindles, Old and New” By Carlo Mattogno:

      “New ‘Official’ Changes in the Auschwitz Story” By Mark Weber:

      Comment by hermie — November 20, 2013 @ 8:33 pm

    • I have added some more information to my blog post about Edith Stein to make it clear that the little white house was probably used as a Gaskammer for disinfecting clothes, and a shower room for incoming prisoners.

      Comment by furtherglory — November 21, 2013 @ 8:15 am

  3. As llong as it is known in 1942 the Catholic Bishop iussed a Pastoral Letter against the persecution of tje Jews. The deportation and gasing of a group of Jews who not only converted tho Chatholicism but also became clergy or nun can be seen as a retailation. Note that Seyss Inquardt was a strong clercial antisemite who for some month “served” as Deputy General Governor in Poland. The decision about the sainthood of Edith Stein had been strongly advocated by German Bishops and Government. Note that in 1998 Chacellor Kohl., already past, had been present at Vatican Ceremony. I guess that Gas Chambers at Auschwitz had been built later as there had been already those of Belsec, Sobibior, Treblinka and Majdanek where the polish Jews had been already exterminated and after Stalingrad the Soviet Army was continously advancing. The “location Auschwitz” had been chosen for “logistic reasons” . Think about this idea. All the Best.

    Comment by Wolf Murmelstein — November 19, 2013 @ 10:33 pm

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